Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keping My First Love

During class I've said that our outreach to those in need reflects our relationship to Him. In a class dedicated to the world's poor, this position seems to go counter to many commandments and directives. If it is indeed true that there are thousands of verses calling for the care for the poor, we should just do as He commands. I agree. My experience, however, has taught me that when we set out to "work out our salvation" it is very easy to substitute the cause for God. I have seen many charitable works (several were mine) start but wither when the cause became the motivating factor.

Jesus writing to the Church of Ephesus says, "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love." I swallowed hard when I realized I fit in the Church of Ephesus. I have sought to fulfill his commandments, so much so that I lost my first love. You see, Jesus calls us to keep his commandments, but not to his exclusion. He is the vine and we are in the branches. Our good works flow from him, through us, to others. I can produce no fruit unless I am in him. To work outside the vine, to substitute the cause for the one who saves us is to lose your first love.

I am passionate about orphans. I am a zealot for my first love. To all my classmates, remain in the vine. Jesus says, "Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me." To do his work here, pursue the vine with all you have and the fruits will flow from him, through you, to those in need.


  1. "...it is very easy to substitute the cause for God...Jesus calls us to keep his commandments, but not to his exclusion."

    I couldn't agree more with this statement. We always need to be careful that we don't confuse a goal with the means to achieving that goal.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective both here and in class. Your comments have helped to temper our group and ensure that we focus on the correct motivations and priorities.